The 69th Berlin International Film Festival will open on February 7, 2019 with the world premiere of Lone Scherfig’s drama The Kindness of Strangers, which will also play in competition.

The English-language Denmark-Canada co-production charts the interconnected story of a handful of New Yorkers struggling with personal crises during the city’s unforgiving winter. The ensemble cast includes Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Andrea Riseborough, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy.

HanWay Films represents worldwide sales rights with backers including Ingenious Media and Apollo Media. Entertainment One will distribute the film in Canada and SF Studios in Scandinavia.

Malene Blenkov produced the film for Denmark’s Creative Alliance and Canada’s Strada Films with the participation of The Danish Film Institute and Telefilm Canada, Danmarks Radio, Ontario Creates, Copenhagen Film Fund, Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Entertainment One and Ingenious Senior Film Fund / Apollo Media, in co-production with Sweden’s Unlimited Stories, Germany’s Nadcon and France’s D’Artagnan, Film i Väst, WDR/ARTE Grand Accord and ARTE France Cinéma.

Danish director and screenwriter Scherfig has presented multiple movies at the festival including 1990 title The Birthday Trip (Kaj’s Fødselsdag) in Panorama, and in 1998 her film On Our Own (Når Mor Kommer Hjem…). Her international breakthrough film was the Dogme film Italian For Beginners (Italiensk For Begyndere), which won the Jury Prize Silver Bear at the 2001 Berlinale. Two years later, her film Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself (Wilbur Begår Selvmord) was presented in a Competition Special Screening.

Her film An Education screened at the 2009 festival in Berlinale Special and received three Oscar nominations. In addition, Scherfig wrote the script for A Serious Game (Den Allvarsamma Leken directed by Pernilla August), which opened at Berlinale Special Gala in 2016.